McIntire Department of Art
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400130
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4130
Graduate Program in History of Art and Architecture
Requirements for Ph.D.
The Ph.D. in the History of Art and Architecture is an advanced degree for those whose goal is professional scholarship, teaching, and curatorial work. Admission to the Ph.D. program is limited to those students who have demonstrated superior abilities in their previous course work. In addition to the entrance requirements of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, admission to graduate study in art and architectural history normally requires an average of A- or better in an undergraduate major in the field and a command of either French, Italian, or German.
1. Course Requirements
Candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the History of Art and Architecture entering with a Masters Degree in the History of Art and/or Architecture are required to complete two years of coursework, passing a minimum of 30 graded credit hours of courses at the 5000 level or above. Students entering with only a Bachelor of Arts degree can expect to take three years of coursework, completing a minimum of 42 graded credits at the 5000 level or above. At its discretion the Graduate Program may require a doctoral candidate to take more than the minimum number of courses required for the Ph.D. This will be specified upon admission to the program. All students are required to take ARAH 8051 Theory and Interpretation. Students must earn a grade of “B-” or higher in all of their courses; students who receive two failing grades will not be permitted to remain in the program.
2. Qualifying Paper
There is no terminal Masters Degree in Art and Architectural History. Students entering with the B.A. will be asked to develop one of their first-year seminar papers into a polished piece, based on original research, of approximately 30 pages in length.
3. Language Requirements
Language preparation is essential to a student’s success in this program and in the profession. Competence in languages is assumed in all graduate courses and reading knowledge of at least two foreign languages is required for graduation. These languages are to be appropriate to the dissertation field and should to be determined in consultation with the dissertation director and the Graduate Director. Proficiency in the first language must be demonstrated during the first semester of study and no later than the end of the first year. Proficiency in the second language must be demonstrated before the completion of coursework: the Ph.D. prospectus will be accepted only after reading ability in a second language has been demonstrated. Students satisfy the language requirement by passing a test administered by one of the language departments at the University or by the Graduate Program and consisting of the translation (with the aid of a dictionary) of a prose passage. Depending on their field of specialization and in consultation with their dissertation director, candidates may also be required to demonstrate a working knowledge of other languages. Funding may be available for study in additional languages.
4. Ph.D. Examination
In their final year of coursework, typically in the Fall semester, students will undertake their Ph.D. exams. Prepared by three faculty members in their area of study, the examination will demonstrate their mastery of foundational primary sources, historiographical issues, and scholarship broadly related to the dissertation. The Ph.D. examination will include both written and oral components. One member of the examining committee can be from outside Art and Architectural History. The student’s dissertation director and the Graduate Director appoint the committee in consultation with the student.
5. Dissertation Prospectus
The broad area and subject of the dissertation should to a considerable extent govern the choice of courses in the Ph.D. program, and in general students should begin to think about their dissertation topics as early in their graduate careers as possible. Having successfully completed their Ph.D. examinations in the first semester of their final year of coursework, students, in consultation with their dissertation director, craft a dissertation prospectus of no more than fifteen pages (excluding bibliography) that includes an abstract; a project statement outlining the project’s scope, situating it historiographically, and identifying its contributions; a program and schedule of research; and selected bibliography. Once the dissertation director has approved the prospectus, it should be submitted to the Graduate Committee for final approval (by the end of spring semester, Year 2, for students entering with an M.A. or by the end of spring semester Year 3 for students entering with a B.A.). Once approved, the dissertation prospectus is circulated among the faculty.
Students are expected to complete all pre-dissertation requirements, including coursework, the qualifying paper, language proficiency examinations, PhD examinations, and the dissertation prospectus, by the conclusion of their sixth term of study.
6. Dissertation Committee
The dissertation committee must comprise at least four members: three faculty from the program in Art and Architectural History and one faculty member from another department in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, who serves as the representative of the Dean of Arts and Sciences at the dissertation defense. The dissertation director serves as the first reader and chairs the committee and the oral examination. The dissertation committee is formally appointed by the chairs of the McIntire Department of Art and the Department of Architectural History in consultation with the Graduate Committee, the candidate, and the dissertation director.
7. Dissertation Presentation
In the midst of advancing his or her research and writing, each student is asked to give a forty-minute talk based on the dissertation to an audience of faculty and graduate students. A typical presentation begins with a concise outline of the project as a whole, followed by an illustrative excerpt taken from a single chapter. The presentation concludes with a question and answer period. Neither an examination nor a defense, this is an occasion for students to share their scholarship in a formal venue, to learn how to engage with historians of art and architecture from different areas, and to practice the kind of presentation usually demanded by a job talk.
8. Dissertation and Oral Examination
In form the dissertation should follow accepted scholarly usage, as stipulated in the MLA Style Sheet, second edition, or standard up-to-date guides to usage (such as the Chicago Manual of Style). The abbreviations should be those prescribed in the Art Bulletin or the American Journal of Archaeology. Other, more specific dissertation requirements, including those of format, are to be found in the Graduate Record of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Strict adherence to them is expected of the final copies submitted to the Graduate School.
After the acceptance of the dissertation by the first and second readers, an oral defense is scheduled. In order to avoid last-minute problems of revision, the defense should be scheduled well in advance of the final submission date of the semester in which the degree is to be conferred. All members of the Program Faculty are invited to the defense. Students may be invited at the candidate’s discretion. Five copies of the dissertation and abstract (one for each committee member and one for the Program Faculty) must be available not later than three weeks before the date of the examination.
Program in Classical Art and Archaeology
One significant feature of the Doctoral Program in Art and Architectural History is the opportunity to pursue an interdisciplinary program in Classical Art and Archaeology, leading to the degree of Ph.D. Founded in the early 1980s, the program in Classical Art and Archaeology focuses on the ancient world: Egypt, the Middle East, the prehistoric Mediterranean, Greece, and Rome. Thus, in addition to the modern language requirements of the Graduate Program in Art and Architectural History, reading knowledge of Greek and Latin is required. With the counsel of their dissertation director, students are encouraged to take courses relevant to the study of the ancient world offered in the departments of Anthropology, Classics, History, and Religious Studies, as well as in Art and Architectural History. At an appropriate stage in their graduate study, most students in the program will also participate in archaeological field work. Recent students have worked at Morgantina, the Athenian Agora, Isthmia, Mycenae, and as members of the Pompeii Forum Project.
Curriculum in the Program in Classical Art and Archaeology is determined by the student’s preparation, interests, and needs, in consultation with the dissertation director, but as in the broader Graduate Program in Art and Architectural History a minimum of 42 graded credit hours is required for students entering with only the B.A.; students entering with the M.A. are required to take 30 hours. For students entering with only the B.A., a slide examination in Greek and Roman Art is taken late in the second semester and a qualifying paper and written examination are required in the third semester. At the Ph.D. level a written examination is also required, comprising two two-hour essays and one four-hour essay. There is no oral examination.